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‘Obama-Motors’ Skew Jobless Numbers

From the perpetually surprised economic mavens at Reuters:

US jobless claims fall to near 2-yr low last week

WASHINGTON | Thu Jul 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) – New U.S. claims for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week to their lowest level in nearly two years as seasonal layoffs eased at factories, government data showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000 last week, the lowest since late August 2008, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 450,000 from the previously reported 454,000, which was revised up to 458,000 in Thursday’s report

What’s this? Last week’s jobless claims were revised up again? Talk about ‘unexpected.’

(For the record, last week the Reuters jobless report read: "Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 460,000 from the previously reported 472,000, which was revised up to 475,000 in Thursday’s report.")

Notice, by the way, how these constant revisions are a two-fer for the administration. Before they are revised up, they hide the bad news. Then, after they are revised up, they make the next week’s news look that much better.

You have to hand it to the Labor Department. It is a great system.

New claims for jobless benefits normally rise this time of the year as manufacturers, including auto makers, implement annual shut downs. However, General Motors is keeping the majority of its plants open during the annual summer retooling shutdown to meet demand for some models.

A Labor Department official said layoffs that are normally scheduled for this time of the year did not appear to have materialized

See the article below for more on this.

Claims for jobless benefits have been above levels that are normally associated with sustainable job growth, even though companies are no longer aggressively dismissing workers.

In the week ended July 3, the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid jumped 247,000 to 4.68 million, the Labor Department said. The level was well above market expectations for 4.41 million.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, rose to 3.7 percent during that period from 3.5 percent in the prior week.

And yet we are supposed to believe that new unemployment claims have dropped dramatically.

The number of people on emergency benefits dropped 236,162 to 3.91 million in the week ended June 26.

Or, to put it another way, another 236,162 jobless people have run out of benefits.

Concerns over the country’s massive budget deficit are frustrating efforts to extend jobless aid to millions of Americans whose benefits have run out. Analysts fear the impasse could further weigh on consumer spending

Reuters passed up an opportunity to blame the Republicans? Now that is unexpected!

Still, even these glad tidings might be deceptive, since it would seem that Obama-motors may be influencing the seasonally adjusted numbers:

From the financial markets site, Benzinga:

Weekly Jobless Claims Likely to be Skewed by Auto Workers Next Few Weeks

July 15, 2010

With each new data point now a referendum on the future of the U.S. economy, and employment in particular unable to show meaningful improvement, the weekly jobless claims have taken on much more importance than normal the past few months.  As a coincident indicator rather than leading or lagging, a significant drop below 400,000 claims a week has been elusive for the bull case.  That said there is a lot of noise in these figures, as multiple layers of emergency federal benefits have been added on, and seasonal adjustments are also found within the numbers.  These next few weeks have a particularly interesting situation so we’ll see if there is some sort of large change today or in the next few weeks.  Why?

Normally mid summer the auto plants shut down for a few weeks for retooling; hence auto workers traditionally file for claims these weeks.  That is seasonally adjusted since it happens year in and year out.  Except for this year.  Both General Motors and Chrysler have decided not to do shutdowns.  Hence the weekly jobless claims will be seasonally adjusted for something that is not happening.

Bottom line?  A clean report on weekly claims won’t be available to us until August so ignore any mass hysteria caused by this quirk

So government owned General Motors and Chrysler are not shutting down to retool as they always have before?

What a coincidence, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “‘Obama-Motors’ Skew Jobless Numbers”

  1. proreason says:

    Years ago, I thought numbers published by the gubamint were factual.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Concerns over the country’s massive budget deficit are frustrating efforts to extend jobless aid to millions of Americans whose benefits have run out. Analysts fear the impasse could further weigh on consumer spending…”

    In other words, “Peeps ain’t got no jobs an’ day’s gots no munny, know’m sayn’?”

    My Answer? “Turn to Barack Hussein Obama—-mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm!”

    Mr fabulous himself will fix you right up!

  3. wardmama4 says:

    Rusty – you forgot one little phrase at the end of your last sentence – from Obama’s stash!

  4. proreason says:

    Both General Motors and Chrysler have decided not to do shutdowns.

    Must be the pent-up demand for the $40,000 Volt.

    Gubamint Motors is bragging that you can get 40 miles for every charge up. So you could actually drive 20 miles from home, unless you have a second vehicle that is qualified to tow.

    Towing vehicles are probably adding to the demand as well.

    Thank goodness cars are free.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Just like any heavily unionized national carmaker, they will be building the crap that no one wants. Overpriced, poorly made, poorly designed.

      I recall FIAT, Saab to name just two.

      Chevys and Chryslers will become laughing stocks of the auto industry. That’s partly why the government-sponsored PR tirade against Toyota.

      Yup, non-union made cars will be all-but-banned in the years to come, courtesy of the “need” to allow a “level playing field” for obama-motors to be able to compete.

      But, you will never see me ever drive a new GM product. Not unless they get the government out of their organization. Forever.

    • proreason says:

      “non-union made cars will be all-but-banned in the years to come”

      a good bet.

      Expect legislation to be introduced within months. Tax breaks for buying Gubamint Motors, onerous tariffs on foreign brands, something like that.

  5. bill says:

    So your tax dollars support the gubbermint motors plants so they can build electric cars which will never be economical or feasible.

    Have you figured out why Lithium is a rare earth mineral yet?

    free cars, batteries not included.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      It’ll be worse than that, bill. Much worse. Federally mandated recharging stations which, of course, will bring about the parking lot of a federal workplace, like my local post office which will have 15 recharging stations but will have only 5 employees, none of which can afford an electric car.

      Then, the forced implementation of electric car usage, having certain “officials” own them through various “incentives” etc. And their having to promote them while at the same time, hating them and their incredibly short range and lack of versatility.

      Much like everything else government sponsored/devised/controlled, it will be a monumental and enormously expensive flop. It will be the source material for Leno on his late show. Unless, of course, he and all the other fruit-loops in the entertainment industry don’t want to appear “racist” and ignore obvious one-liners the electric car mandate will provide.

      So, we have entered the new frontier. And it comes but with a heavy sigh.

      However, I look forward to the failure. For, it will be impossible to hide, much like Carter’s gas-controls and hostage “crisis” that he created.

  6. finebammer59 says:

    they don’t count the thousands who’ve given up looking for work.

    they fire and re-hire census workers.

    then they deliberately underestimate the unemployed, grab the headline, then revise it up after the spotlight moves on.

    if this were enron, worldcom, healthsouth, they’d call it cooking the books.

  7. GetBackJack says:

    We need a new term for a body of mathematics heretofore undiscovered –

    We have Natural numbers Integers Rational numbers Real numbers Complex numbers.

    There’s Number theory Abstract algebra Order theory

    There’s Geometry Algebraic geometry Trigonometry Differential geometry Topology Fractal geometry

    And … Model theory Proof theory Recursion theory Set theory

    But Mankind has been blessed by The One with a new form of calculation, like the New Math of my elementary days … OBAMA-NUMBERS

    Can be deployed to prove anything without proof, consequence or skull sweat.

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